BROSSARD – The Habs held an optional skate at the Bell Sports Complex on Saturday morning ahead of their tilt against the Predators.
Forward Alex Galchenyuk will be facing off against his former World Junior Championship teammate Seth Jones for the first time at the professional level. Jones, a 19-year-old defenseman, was drafted fourth overall by the Tennessee-based franchise this past summer. Like Galchenyuk, Jones made the jump straight from the CHL ranks to the NHL without a stopover in the minors. While the pair share fond memories of their World Junior experience together in which they claimed a gold medal, the Habs sophomore already had his game face on in the locker room after the morning skate.
“I’m sure if I saw him we would have a conversation. He keeps in touch with some of the players [on Team USA] and I do as well, but we didn’t talk [before Saturday night’s game],” mentioned Galchenyuk. “He will be an exciting player for the Predators for years to come, so it’ll be fun to play against him tonight.”
Even though the Andrei Markov-P.K. Subban duo is already proving to be effective both on the power play and at shutting down opposing team’s top forwards, the Russian veteran still believes the best is yet to come.
“We still have room to improve. We will try to get better every game, every shift,” stated Markov.
As for playing with the reigning Norris Trophy winner and an explosive offensive threat in Subban, the assistant captain is doing his utmost to complement his partner’s flashy and often unpredictable style.
“I just have to play my style and do my job, nothing special. It’s about reading the play and doing the best for the team,” noted Markov. “There’s nothing wrong with doing a bit extra, as long as it’s good for the team.”
Francis Bouillon will be facing off against his old team on Saturday night. The veteran blue liner first had a four-game stint in Nashville back in 2002-03, before spending three seasons down south with the Preds between 2009 and 2012. The veteran rearguard has only played for the Canadiens and the Predators during his 13-plus seasons in the NHL.
“[Nashville] is a franchise that changed a lot in the last two years. I learned a lot over there for sure. When I first arrived there, I didn’t know anybody in the locker room, but when the game starts, they’re a team that shows up and is very hard to play against,” stated Bouillon, who faces off against Nashville for the first time since embarking on his third tour of duty with Montreal. “Barry Trotz is a great coach, someone who the players really like. He’s very human; he likes to talk with everybody and doesn’t panic, even if the team has lost two or three games in a row.”